Protected bike lanes finally in Munich

Photo: © REM / Holger Quick

So-called protected bike lanes, i.e. protected cycle paths, are one of the core requirements of the Radentscheid. The protection of marked cycle lanes by means of a structural separation is elementary so that cars are not parked and driven on cycle paths. Cycling is only possible safely and relaxed for inexperienced cyclists of all ages, including children and the elderly, on protected cycle lanes; children are only allowed to do so if they are protected. The state capital of Munich is now installing protective elements on five pilot routes.

Protected bike lanes are a quick and inexpensive way to create a safe cycling infrastructure. That is why they are now being set up in many cities around the world. Now the first protected cycle lanes are also being set up in Munich. For at least a year, tests are then carried out to determine which separating elements are best suited to protecting cyclists under the real stresses of everyday life and in different weather conditions such as snow and heavy rain.

Andreas Schön, spokesman for the Radentscheid: “Structural protection increases the safety and attractiveness of cycle lanes considerably – especially for children and inexperienced cyclists – and is a core requirement of the Radentscheid. Protected cycle lanes can be set up quickly, flexibly and inexpensively in many places. As early as November 2019, we therefore agreed with Mayor Reiter that they should be tested.”

The representatives of the Bündnis Radentscheid München have long campaigned for the city administration to ensure that the vision of safe and relaxed driving on protected cycle lanes can also become a reality in Munich. After legal and other reservations regarding the maintenance were overcome, the city council decided in July last year to test five different protective elements at different locations in Munich.

In order to avoid lengthy planning and approval processes, only streets where an existing bike lane on the right-hand side of the road can be widened to the required standard for protected bike lanes were selected for the test. In addition, as few access roads or bus stops as possible should interrupt the protective device.

An evaluation in which cyclists are regularly asked about their experiences will accompany the test and should also offer the opportunity to react to praise and criticism and to make improvements to the test routes during the course of the test.

“We welcome the efforts of the mobility department to start testing the protected bike lanes as quickly as possible,” emphasizes Holger Quick, member of the planning guidelines working group of the Radentscheid Munich and the administration. “The test is a pragmatic approach that we have repeatedly requested from our administration. We expect that after the test phase, protective devices will also be used on other road sections where safety for cyclists urgently needs to be improved.”

“When selecting the protective elements for Munich, we not only made sure that they protect cyclists as well as possible, but also paid particular attention to the fact that the protective elements fit harmoniously into the cityscape and that pedestrians can continue to cross the street without restrictions. I’m sure that protected cycle lanes will soon be taken for granted as a positive phenomenon in our city,” says Katharina Horn, Radentscheid spokesperson, adding: “Even if the test routes don’t yet meet the Radentscheid quality standards in all places, I’m happy me that Munich’s cyclists can finally try out these protected cycle lanes for themselves.”

According to the ideas of the Radentscheid, Munich’s first protected cycle lanes could look like this: Briennerstraße in front of the NS Documentation Center and Kapuzinerstraße at the height of the old southern cemetery.